Our Derek James is new Sheriff of Norwich

Sarah HallNorwich is to get its first ever Green Party Lord Mayor it was revealed last night, while a very familiar face to Evening News readers will serve as the city's next Sheriff.Sarah Hall

A very familiar face to Evening News readers will serve as the city's next Sheriff.

Derek James, joint features editor of the Evening News and Eastern Daily Press, whose columns have graced this paper since 1987, will be the new Sheriff of Norwich.

The city will also get its first Green Party Lord Mayor. Tm Dylan, 29, will fulfil the historic and prestigious civic role from May after being nominated and selected at a special meeting of Norwich City Council last night.

Mr James will need little introduction to readers of the Evening News. For almost 25 years he has written his hugely popular nostalgia page, previously called Whiffler's City, in this paper.

Brought up in Diss, Mr James was offered a job as a junior reporter at the Diss Express when he was 15 and never went back to school.

He has worked on a number of newspapers including the East Anglian Daily Times, the Daily Examiner in Huddersfield, the Cambridge Evening News and the Bury Free Press.

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He has also produced a series of supplements about the history of Norwich, including Norwich In The Blitz: The Fight For Freedom and The Railways Of Norfolk.

Mr James said: 'I was shocked, surprised and completely lost for words when I was asked if I would be the next Sheriff of Norwich.

'Those close to me know that I prefer to keep out of the spotlight and in the background, so the year ahead will be quite a challenge.

'But it is one which I am honoured to accept. I would also like to think I am representing the readers of the Evening News who keep me supplied with stories, memories and photographs celebrating Norwich life.'

The editor of the Evening News, Tim Williams, said it was a great tribute to Mr James's role in recording the history of Norwich and its people. 'It's an honour and I am delighted for him,' he said.

City council leader Steve Morphew said Mr James was an especially appropriate choice, in a year when history was being made with the creation of a new unitary authority and Norwich was bidding to become UK City of Culture.

Mr Dylan, who represents Mancroft ward, said he was thrilled to be chosen as Lord Mayor and said: 'Our recent Lord Mayors have done excellent work in promoting Norwich in their very different ways and, as the next Norwich figurehead, I'm looking forward to bringing my own personality to the role, and continuing that work.'

Salford-born Mr Dylan, who was elected in 2007, has worked as an environmental policy officer and has a degree in politics and philosophy from Keele University. He has also studied renewable energy systems at Melbourne University.

The mayor-making ceremony will take place at City Hall on Tuesday, May 18, followed by a civic procession and a reception at City Hall.

The current Lord Mayor of Norwich is Evelyn Collishaw, Conservative city councillor for Catton Grove, while the Sheriff is Tim O'Riordan, former professor of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia.

What do you think of the appointments? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk